Gwynn Palmer was born in Ohio on December 30, 1941. She died at home on Vashon on February 13th, 2020.
She had been ill for many months but lived only three weeks after a diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. As she died she was surrounded by loving caregivers: Her beloved son, Josiah, the “love of her life,” Josh Forgues, many longtime friends and family. Her-one-year old grandson, Gabriel brought a smile to her face always, and he was able to visit a few days before she died.
Gwynn left Ohio and hit the road as a young woman, part of a band of hippies, musicians, and likeminded folks. In 1965, she ended up in L.A. and, with others in her circle, worked at the Ashgrove, a well-known blues club. Many of those folks migrated to Vashon Island. Gwynn and Bill Palmer came to Dockton in 1971, joining other old friends there, making a life and community.
Babies were born, strong alliances were formed. She was an integral part of the creation of Sound Food, a very popular restaurant and hub of the island community in the 70s. Gwynn was a part-owner, manager and chef there. Her love and knowledge of healthy eating (and delicious cooking!) for nutrition and bodily repair grew out of an earlier bout with cervical cancer. That experience shaped the life changes Gwynn practiced from then forward. She was a staunch proponent of alternative healing therapies and advised many in dietary changes and the taking of natural supplements to promote healing and health. In the 90s, she was co-owner with dear friend, Kathi Ray, of Electric Chairs. Their long time collaboration produced functional art, painted furniture, mirrors and such. It was sold at Bumbershoot, Folklife Festival and other galleries.
She moved to Florida, in 1995, where she had family, and pursued her interests in healing modalities and wrote cookbooks. She became licensed in massage therapy, as a prerequisite for her real passion, colon hydrotherapy. She was on the board of the International Association of Colon Therapists and practiced with naturopathic physicians as an adjunct therapist for many years both in Florida and Seattle.
When she returned to Vashon, she resumed being a caregiver, cooking for those with special needs, and always, always making art. Her last endeavors involved birdhouses with happy, bright colors, animal motifs, garden delights. Gwynn was ambitious, hardworking and creative. She had perseverance in the face of many obstacles. Despite health challenges, she created a beautiful garden at her home. It was always a focus, growing tomatoes from seed propagated by Bill Palmer, marijuana plants in later years, which she shared with many. She was a true gardener, always delighting in a rose, a poppy, a tree to be planted. She was a steadfast mother to Josiah and a loyal friend and inspiration to so many. She never gave up.
Gwynn’s family and friends want to thank the wonderful team of caregivers who helped make her passing as peaceful as possible: Hospice nurses were so awesome and helpful, Brigitte Webb and Chris Jovanovich gave such good support with a team of 24/7 caregivers. Thanks to Tara Logie, Nancy Pendergast, Jacqui Lown and especially Haley Mosteller. She was surrounded by love, care and respect.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on April 5 at the old VFW hall. Please join us in celebrating her life. Pot luck dishes welcome.
Please come and remember Gwynn.